Today we sent a follow-up letter to Minister Koolmees, Minister for Social Affairs and Employment in The Netherlands to point out the urgency of our previous one, regarding the exclusion of thousands of companies from the NOW measures.

We ask you to co-sign the form, show your support and help us convince The Hague to adjust the criteria. Startups and scaleups need to be able to access COVID-19 government measures to survive this crisis.  

As founder or employee of a startup or scaleup, please co-sign the letter here

We’ll make sure your company will be included and mentioned in our efforts. 

If you have startups and scaleups in your network that benefit from this, please share!

On behalf of the Board of the Dutch Start Association,

Lucien Burm


The letter:

Dear Minister Koolmees, Dear Wouter 

First of all we’d like to express our appreciation for the hard work on the Temporary Emergency Measure Bridging Employment (NOW) and its extensions so far. Maintaining entrepreneurial activity and preserving jobs is clearly a short term top priority for you and the Dutch government. Despite the commitment and intention, you may be unaware of the fact that the measure in current form excludes thousands of important companies, putting 100,000 jobs at risk. For that reason we repeat our call, this time urgently, to you to adjust the criteria and prevent the categorical exclusion of startups and scale-ups.

We very much regret that the current requirements for companies to find some relief in the NOW scheme exclude thousands of companies. As you know, startups and scale-ups often do not have a turnover yet, and therefore cannot show a decrease to prove their existence is threatened. They do have a growth path, social and economic relevance and people on the payroll. If they are denied access to the emergency measure, these thousands of companies will have no choice but to shed a multitude of jobs. Their people will be out on the streets and many of these companies will not survive. At the same time, now, in times of crisis, the innovation power of start-ups is so badly needed to restore the economy and societal cohesion.  

Startups are Small and Medium Enterprises with the opportunities of a Large Company. They often work with investments of third parties based on growth forecasts and have a much sharper risk profile than the regular ‘entrepreneurial risk’. The applicable currencies for startups are ‘product and market development’ and ‘growth’, which is often expressed in numbers of users and not in turnover. To apply for the NOW measures a decrease in turnover needs to be demonstrated, while this is not a criterion for success or relevance for these types of forward-looking companies. The startups and scaleups of the Netherlands therefore urgently call upon you to open the NOW scheme for growth companies as well. 

A few concrete inclusion criteria for consideration: 

  • Previously obtained risk capital
  • WBSO allocation
  • Having staff (also without turnover)

Startups are important and a determining factor to get out of this crisis. They provide the greatest innovation power to help reshape and rebuild the economy and society and they deliver the most job growth short term. The Netherlands now very much needs startups and scaleups. 

Minister Koolmees, dear Wouter, keep the Dutch startups and scaleups afloat and include them (in) NOW!